Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun At The VA - Not Really

When we left the army Will was told to go home and within the next few weeks we would get a letter telling him when his first appointment would be.  We waited, waited, waited...and waited and nothing.  Well long story short, the paperwork was never filed and he wasn't assigned to the VA.  We took care of that in June and in July he got a letter for an appointment in August.  The week before his appointment he was called and told he was being pushed out another month into September.

He pretty much lost his mind on the woman who called and told him this was unacceptable.  He is a 90% disabled vet who hadn't seen a doctor in over 9 months and they were going to push him out another month.  He told her that he wasn't going to let them do this to him and he WOULD be seen much earlier than September.  Before hanging up he made sure to ask that he not be put in a secret file where he wouldn't be seen until months after his death.  A few hours later he got a call that an appointment happened to open up a day before his original appointment...imagine that.

He's been going to the VA in Providence, RI because it's really close to where we are in Massachusetts but he has to drive 40 minutes into Massachusetts to drop the girls off at his grandparents' house then 30 minutes into Providence go to his appointment drive 30 minutes to the girls then 40 minutes back to our house - it's not ideal.  We've been making it work because we don't have a choice.  Yesterday he had an appointment in Providence and happened to get a letter at his grandparents' house telling him that he had to be at the VA hospital in Boston the following day (today).  He called me at work and asked me to take the day off to go with him.  He can't drive in Boston, it is just not even an option for him in his current state.  (And why did this letter go to an address we had updated months before and why did they have a phone number that had been changed months ago as well...we have been getting letters and calls from the VA in both MA and RI since July??)

We weren't really sure what the appointment was for, he had to check in the the compensation/pension desk so we thought it had to do with his TDLR (he's only on temporary disability for some stupid reason but in 4 years it will be permanent).  What this really was was singing for his supper.  He had to go prove that he is still messed up.  And apparently they can call him in to do that at any point - for the rest of his life.

His first appointment was a psychologist who went over every reason he's messed up and how him being messed up totally makes his life suck.  It was a lot of fun, really everyone should do that at least once a week.  At the end of the hour she said her report would state that his depression was sever but his PTSD seems like it's getting better...So now we are left to sit and wait for the next 4 months to see of they are going to mess around with his PTSD rating.

Appointment number two was neurology where an emotionally drained and humiliated Will had to again sing for his supper and prove to another doctor he has never seen and will never seen again that his does, in fact, have a TBI and it makes his life a living hell.  You can imagine Will was in a horrible mood at this point and was doing his best to give this doctor the benefit of the doubt but he seemed to take everything personally.  He even told Will that he should chill out because this office was pretty chill.  Will almost lost his mind so I stepped and and reminded the doctor that is was very easy for him to say sitting in the examiner's chair and that he needs to take what Will is going through into account.  A lot more happened in that appointment, I was kicked out while he performed the most basic neurological tests.  During this time Will was telling him that it is beyond messed up that He's been home for 9 months and the first neurologist he was seeing wasn't to treat but to evaluate him.  The doctor's response: "If you don't like something take it up with the VA."  Totally dismissive, cold and horrible.  Will reminded him that as a doctor with education and clout it may mean more to the VA coming from him and not some messed up soldier.

We will be taking this up with the VA, Will is going to go out of his way to be sure that everyone knows just how horrible this man was to him - telling someone with a TBI and PTSD to well as so many other issues. 

Tonight we are drained and emotional.  We feel like Will is being treated like an unwanted stepchild.  But at least TC told me that I'm a bad mom so that was a nice cherry on my shit sundae. 

1 comment:

  1. I hate this happened to you guys, but I am not surprised at all.
    I have been wanting to share this link with you for awhile, but didn't know how.

    It is a caregiver support group for combat wounded veterans. There are some women in there who have ridden the VA merry-go-round a few times and tons of information. It's peer-to-peer, so it all comes from first-hand knowledge. I hope you take a look.

    You are doing a great job with Will's care and stepping in when you need to, and it's good to hear that he knows when to ask for your help and go with him. I was not allowed in with some of Aaron's evaluation appointments, either. I think it's bogus because relying on someone with a brain injury to accurately describe his issues is a bit rich. Some of the most valuable information about Aaron's conditions has come from me, but the VA doesn't like that, I guess. They want the service member to screw himself.

    Contact whoever you need to- your Congress person, any reps you know, get in touch with the local American Legion, too. You got this, and there are people out there who will have your back, too.